September is Happy Cat Month! Created by the CATalyst Council, with the goal to help pet parents or future pet parents discover things they can do to focus on the health and happiness of their cats. The Council is a group of professionals that are experts in feline healthcare and welfare. The annual event focuses on spreading the word about the health, welfare, and value of the companionship of cats.
Cats seem to have a bit of notorious reputation for being loners, not needing or wanting human interaction or even health care. Every cat, as every human, has their own unique personality. I’ve only had one cat. She was initially our clinic cat. Her previous owners (strategic use of the word owner) wanted her euthanized when she wouldn’t stop urinating in their plants. Puck (Shakespeare reference not Hockey) was surrendered to our practice owner and lived there for two years. In that time, she never inappropriately urinated in the clinic or in our home for the 10 years we had her, just sayin’. Puck was a loving cat but also wanted her space at times. She cuddled with our dogs and like to stalk and kill leaves that would come in our yard.
No matter your cat’s personality, there are things you can do not only foster the human animal bond but also help them to get the most of their day-to-day ownership of your home.
Keep you cat healthy and happy all year long
Here is a quick list of the things you should keep in mind to help you keep your cat health and happy, whether they choose to cooperate or not.
Five considerations to a happy cat:
Regular veterinary visits.
Many pet parents say their cat doesn’t like to go to the vet. Truthfully, they may not like to go anywhere. Taking time to teach your cat to like their crate, feel safe and secure as well as on the car ride. One of the best tips I learned for pet parents through Free® Certification was never use the handle on top of the pet carrier. Think about it, when carring something that is cumbersome and maybe a bit heavy, we tilt and swing (especially when opening and navigating doors). Cats are light enough to carry with both arms under the carrier, its more stable. Many veterinary hospitals are utilizing Fear Free® techniques to help pets feel comfortable throughout the entire veterinary visit process. Spayed cats live 40% longer and Neutered cats live 60% longer than their intact counter parts. It doesn’t stop there; regular vaccinations, parasite prevention, dental care are all important to our feline family members.
Outlet for their energy
Cats need entertainment too. Giving your cat stimulation through toys, playtime, or event walks is not only good for them mentally but physically. Their natural predator instincts are to hunt and pounce. Find a few toys that speak to their inner wild child and rotate them to keep things exciting.
We all benefit from maintaining a healthy weight. Be sure to keep your cat at a good weight for their breed and size, if you are not sure, ask your veterinarian. Feeding a life-stage appropriate, high quality diet is beneficial. Cats are true carnivore’s so they must have a diet with a meat protein source.
Basic necessities that are also an important component to health and wellness are: clean litter (with the right number of litter boxes), cat tree or perch , scratching post, and hiding spot. Cats like things the way they like them. Creating a happy home with a few of life’s little necessities (in the eyes of your cat), makes for a happy cat.
Indoor only or Supervised Outdoor time
I think cats are safer when they are indoor only. This equates to zero time outside. However some cats do love to be outdoors. If you want to allow your cat to spend time outside it should be supervised. Don’t forget if your cat does go outside this may mean you need to have additional preventatives and vaccines to their wellness regimen as they would be exposed to different pathogens then an indoor only cat.
If you’d like to learn more about Happy Cat Month, tips, or other helpful resources, you can visit the CATalyst Council Happy Cat Month page.